Oh, sugar! It's Tuesday and I haven't yet shunted out a poorly worded mini-essay that no-one will read about football.
I guess I have some explaining to do. Or, I would, if I had any accountability. Which I don't. So just pretend it's Monday. I had some other paper thin excuses prepared but I'm going to keep them up my sleeve for later.
So, to football, then.
After three big weeks when the narrative was about the Raiders rebounding and being back on track, the commentators and the pundits were wrong again. The Knights, powered by Kalyn Ponga and Bradman Best (who annoys me even thinking about him) started fast and never relinquished the lead.
The Raiders jagged a try through some solid work late in the first half, only for Newcastle to slam the door shut with a try on the stroke of half time. From there, the game was a foregone conclusion and there was nought to do but watch the rest of the game play out.
Some shiny junk time play produced a few highlights - including an immaculate chip and chase try - but it wasn't anywhere close enough to match the Knights' intent.
So, first things first - the Knights, in the past three seasons, have been Canberra's bogey side. Even the Roosters, at the height of their power, didn't hold the power over Canberra that Newcastle does. In fact one of our most infamous losses in 2020 occurred in similar circumstances, when "The Pong" and his friend on the left edge blasted past us and sealed the deal.
What does that mean? Well, who knows. The Raiders are, amazingly, still in the conversation for a finals finish, admittedly in the bottom eight and nowhere close to getting a home finals appearace. But who cares, because "home" is in Queensland. It's a free hit and more big game experience under the belt of younger players.
The Raider run home is also tough - there are games against Melbourne, another run-in with the Roosters and Manly. Which is to say, the 'easiest' game in the run home is the Warriors, whom you will all remember were the perpetrators of the biggest comeback of the season all the way back in round 2.
So, it's not looking good.
But if, by some miracle, the Raiders jag three, or even four wins (or the magical christmasland five), they'll be a force in the post-season. It'd be a comeback story and a half, if you consider the adversity they've battled through all year - admittedly, self-inflicted.
So keep your chin up, green-eyed faithful. The light at the end of the tunnel is diminished, but is still there. For now.
The Parting Shot
What do you say about a football club that has managed to claw it's way out of the basement to middling football performance.
Well, that's a good start. The Knights paid overs for Kalyn Ponga when he was generally untested and the results have been mixed. They picked up table scraps from the Bulldogs and Dragons in the form of David Klemmer and Tyson Frizell.
At some point they also picked up Mitchell Pearce, who got tired of doing too much winning at the Roosters, couldn't deal with being replaced, and so pulled on a Knights jersey.
They also found time to sack their coach between then and now. I don't think Kalyn Ponga remembers, though, as he was having a strawberry thickshake at the time.
The end result is a rag-tag bunch of soldiers of fortune, that have wandered the wastelands of the middle of the table for many moons, without succour. I wouldn't be expecting that to change any time soon either. Once the money dries up, they'll be gone soon too.
So that's the tale of the tape this week. This week promises the last of the easy games against a Dragons side down on troops thanks to Paul Vaughan's barbecue. Lose here, and you'd say it's all over, red (and white) rover.
Catch you next time,
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